Stardom New Years Stars 2017 on 1/8/17 Review

Event: Stardom “New Years Stars 2017” Day 3
Date: January 8th, 2017
Location: Act City Hamamatsu in Shizuoka, Japan
Announced Attendance: 283

Jumping ahead with Stardom a little bit. For 2017 I am trying to not review more than two events for a promotion per month and since I will be reviewing Stardom 1/15 next week, I had to be selective. This was not Stardom’s 2nd biggest show of the month, I am reviewing it because I thought that Kairi and Konami teaming was adorable. Doesn’t mean it won’t be a fun show even though its a small one, as we have a fistful of new gaijins plus Queen’s Quest in the main event. Here is the full card:

As always, you can click on the names above to go to the wrestler’s profile on Joshi City. Since this aired on Stardom World, it will be shown in full.

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Arisu Nanase vs. Azumi

stardom1-8-1We start with a Rookie Battle! These two are both kids and aren’t friends, with the storyline being that Azumi (who is younger) has been wrestling longer than Arisu but Arisu won the Rookie of the Year for 2016. Azumi doesn’t want to be passed by wrestlers that debuted after she did (who does?) and wants to re-claim her role as top child wrestler.

Azumi won’t shake Arisu’s hand so Arisu dropkicks her in the back when she turns around, backslide attempt by Arisu and she dropkicks Azumi. Double wrist armsault by Arisu, she throws Azumi into the corner but Azumi reverses it and hits a dropkick. Crab hold by Azumi but Azumi gets out of it and they trade quick pins. La Magistral by Azumi, but Arisu barely kicks out. An Oklahoma Roll gets the same result, Azumi then jumps on Arisu and applies a Japanese Leg Roll Clutch for the three count! Azumi wins!

A very short match but not without some purpose. This was Azumi’s first pinfall over Arisu, so it keeps up the storyline of these two battling for supremacy at the beginning of the card. Arisu is pretty great for a 15 year old but didn’t get much of a chance to show off anything here, just a quick storyline-driven match.

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Kris Wolf vs. Natsuko Tora

We haven’t fully left the “rookie” phase of the evening, as while Natsuko is 25 she just debuted in October. Due to her age she is getting a chance to be a bit higher on the cards and generally avoids the opening rookie match. Kris is everyone’s favorite meat eater and a member of Oedo Tai, while not generally a big threat in singles action she does hold the advantage over the rookie.

stardom1-8-2They lock up to start, Kris gets Natsuko to the mat but Natsuko rolls her up for a two count. Back up they trade holds until Kris snaps Natsuko’s arm on the second rope. Kris goes out to the apron while Natsuko is hanging over it and hits a running knee, back in the ring she stands on Natsuko’s stomach before hitting a double knee drop. Kris slams Natsuko into the corner and chops her in the chest, jumping knee by Kris and she covers Natsuko for two. Belly Claw by Kris but Natsuko gets into the ropes, Natsuko fights back with elbows but Kris kicks her in the chest. Running knee by Kris, she picks up Natsuko but she ducks the next one and rolls up Kris for two. Natsuko bites on Kris’ tail but Kris bites her ankle until both let go, stomps by Natsuko and she hits a body press followed by a senton. Another senton by Natsuko and she hits a third for a two count cover. Natsuko gets on the second turnbuckle but Kris rolls to the other side, but she hops back off and hits a Side Russian Leg Sweep. Natsuko puts Kris in a submission but Kris inches to the ropes and forces a break. Natsuko picks up Kris but Kris sneaks in a roll-up, knee to the stomach by Kris and she applies a schoolboy. Kick to the face by Kris, she gets on the second turnbuckle and delivers the diving double knee drop for the three count! Kris Wolf is the winner.

Because Kris Wolf has a comedic element to her wrestling style, I think a lot of Stardom fans don’t notice that she is also a really solid wrestler. She has to stay within her character but her timing and strikes are on point and she led the rookie well here. Natsuko is still a bit rough around the edges, as would be expected, as that smoothness can take some time to develop. A fine early card match, simple but perfectly watchable.

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Hiromi Mimura vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Viper

Next up is some gaijin action, with Hiromi to supervise. Shayna has only been wrestling for less than two years but I like her a lot, not a lot of wrestlers have a legitimate MMA background so it adds a new element to her matches. Viper has been in Stardom off and on since early 2016 and is one of the top gaijins in the promotion already, so Shayna is invading her space. Hiromi is an itty bitty, as you can see in the picture above, and likely due to her size and age will be a constant in the mid-card. But the crowd likes her and she has a lot of energy.

stardom1-8-3Shayna and Viper completely ignore Hiromi as the match starts as they are focused solely on each other, Viper punches Shayna but Shayna punches her back as thy trade blows. Hiromi jumps in and elbows them both but is swatted to the mat, waistlock by Shayna to Viper but Viper elbows her off. Viper clubs Shayna to her knees and goes off the ropes, but Shayna applies a cross armbreaker takedown. Viper gets out of it, Hiromi goes up top but Shayna puts her in a Triangle Choke when she jumps off. Viper breaks it up, Hiromi hits a diving crossbody on Viper but Shayna pulls her off and focuses back on Viper. Viper and Shayna trade strikes, Hiromi runs over to get involved but both Shayna and Viper fall to the mat before she can do so. Hiromi covers both of them for two counts, Shayna and Viper get back up and take turns trying to slam Hiromi but they keep stopping each other from completing the move. Hiromi dropkicks Shayna into Viper and kicks Shayna so that she gives Viper a Stunner, cover by Hiromi but Viper kicks out. Shayna hits rolling gutwrench suplexes on Hiromi, waterwheel drop but Viper breaks up the pin. Shayna tries to pick up Viper but Viper blocks it and hits a body avalanche in the corner. Body press by Viper to Hiromi, and she picks up the three count! Viper wins the match.

I realize this is just a midcard match on a house show that most people won’t see, but I actively hate this style of Stardom match. Not the comedy triple threat, but the comedy triple threats that have a monster gaijin that I am supposed to be taking seriously. In her first tour, I just don’t like seeing Shayna doing comedy spots with Hiromi, it doesn’t help that ‘asskicking’ aura that I think she naturally has without any help. Having Viper there too just made it worse since she is in the same boat. On top of that, much of the match wasn’t done well, it clearly was thrown together with some spot ideas but without thinking about how they would be executed. I’m glad this wasn’t at Korakuen, but still this match didn’t do anyone any favors.

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Kairi Hojo and Konami vs. Kay Lee Ray and Nixon Newell

Now this is what attracted me to this event. A very unique match-up, one of those weird things you’ll only see on smaller events. Kairi Hojo normally teams with Yoko Bito or Hiromi Mimura, but they were both tied up for this event so Kairi gets to team with Kana’s protege and one of the few native Freelancers on the tour. Konami wrestled Kairi back in October in as singles match, and must have impressed someone as now she is (at least for now) wrestling in Stardom. On the other side, this is Nixon’s first tour with Stardom and this will be my first time seeing her, she is a 22 year old three year veteran from the UK. Kay Lee Ray we’ve seen off and on in Stardom for the last year, she’s one of the most entertaining female wrestlers in the world and at 24 years old she is only getting better.

Kay Lee Ray and Nixon attack before the bell rings and the action spills out to the floor, with the European wrestlers controlling things. Kay Lee Ray throws Kairi into the ring post while Nixon slams Konami into the apron, Kay Lee Ray dropkicks Konami before Nixon hits a catapult dropkick onto Kairi. Kairi and Konami are both slid back into the ring as the double teaming continues, but the momentum swings as Konami and Kairi take over and connect with unison strikes on Kay Lee Ray and Nixon. Things finally settle down with Kay Lee Ray and Kairi in the ring together, they trade strikes until Kay Lee Ray chops Kairi to the mat. Headscissors by Kairi but Kay Lee Ray avoids her when Kairi charges in and plants her on the mat for a two count. Kay Lee Ray picks up Kairi, Nixon comes in but Kairi kicks Nixon away and rolls up Kay Lee Ray for two. Spear by Kairi to Kay Lee Ray and she makes the tag to Konami, kicks by Konami to Kay Lee Ray with a head kick sending Kay Lee Ray to one knee.

stardom1-8-4aKonami goes for the fisherman suplex but Kay Lee Ray blocks it, Konami goes off the ropes but Kay Lee Ray catches her with a dropkick for a two count. Kay Lee Ray picks up Konami and tags Nixon, double superkick by Nixon and Kay Lee Ray and Nixon connects with running elbows in the corner. Konami finally avoids one but Nixon kicks her in the head, Nixon goes up top and she hits a diving crossbody for two when Kairi breaks up the cover. Takedown by Konami and she applies a kneelock, Kairi gets on the second turnbuckle while Nixon is still on the hold and hits a diving elbow drop. Kay Lee Ray tries to help but Kairi puts her in an Octopus Hold while Konami keeps the knee lock applied to Nixon, but Nixon finally makes it to the ropes. Release German by Konami and she nails a Buzzsaw Kick, but Kay Lee Ray breaks up the cover. Konami picks up Nixon and elbows her against the ropes, but Nixon superkicks her while Kay Lee Ray also superkicks Kairi. Nixon slams Konami in front of the corner, Swanton Bomb by Kay Lee Ray to Konami and Nixon follows with a Shining Wizard for the three count! Kay Lee Ray and Nixon Newell are your winners.

Even though this one had a ‘house show’ feel (under ten minutes, mostly general chaos), I still enjoyed it. Each of their individual strengths shown through, but Kay Lee Ray as usual stole the show. Her Swanton Bomb was absolutely insane, as Nixon set her up a bit far away so she had to clear half the ring. Kairi took a backseat which is unusual for her, as Konami did much of the work once they returned to the ring. A fun match, nothing mind-blowing but a good introduction for some new wrestlers to Stardom fans.  Mildly Recommended

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Io Shirai, Momo Watanabe, and HZK vs. Yoko Bito, Jungle Kyona, and Mayu Iwatani

The show finishes with Queen’s Quest in their full form against three of the top wrestlers in Stardom. The story here is well known, Io and Momo turned on their partners Kyona and Mayu and are now the main heel faction in Stardom. HZK is Reo Hazuki, recently returned to Stardom, and Yoko Bito is half of the tag team champions with Kairi Hojo. Nothing too deep going on here, just a standard six woman main event.

Momo and Mayu are the first two in, swinging headscissors by Mayu but Momo armdrags her and they end up in a stalemate. Io and Yoko tag in and lock knuckles, snapmare by Yoko but Io ducks the PK. Leg sweep by Yoko and she kicks Io in the back before hitting the PK on the second attempt. Back up, dropkick by Io and they tag out as HZK and Kyona come in. Kyona throws HZK in the corner but HZK avoids her charge and applies a sleeper. Kyona slams HZK into the corner to get out of it, body avalanche by Kyona but Momo kicks her from the apron. HZK kicks Kyona in the corner before hitting a body slam and tagging in Momo. Momo puts Kyona in the ropes and pulls her hair, dropkick by Momo and she covers Kyona for two. Momo tags in Io, HZK comes in too and they double team Kyona. Handstand kneedrop by Io, she throws Kyona into the corner and stomps her down to a seated position. The beatdown on Kyona lasts several minutes, Yoko comes in to help but HZK tosses her out of the ring. Yoko elbows Io from the apron and Kyona hits a jumping crossbody on all three opponents, giving her time to tag in Yoko. Yoko kicks Io in the chest and hits a double vertical suplex on Io and HZK before dropping Momo onto both of them. Cover by Yoko to Io, but it gets two. Yoko kicks Io in the corner repeatedly and tags in Mayu, missile dropkick by Mayu and she goes for the dragon suplex, but Io blocks it and applies an armbar. Mayu goes for a spinning headscissors but Io lands on her feet, Mayu knocks Io against the ropes but Io trips her and hits a slingshot dropkick.

stardom1-8-5aIo tags Momo and Momo dropkicks Mayu in the corner, tornado DDT by Momo and she covers Mayu for two. Mayu kicks Momo but Momo kicks her back, Somato by Momo but Mayu reverses the pin and they trade quick covers. Superkick by Mayu to Momo and she kicks her in the head again, giving her time to tag in Kyona. HZK tags in too, shoulderblocks by Kyona and she hits a lariat on HZK for two. Kyona picks up HZK but HZK pushes her off and hits a Codebreaker, knees by HZK and she punches Kyona against the ropes. Momo comes in but Kyona gets away from them and Yoko delivers a double lariat. Mayu comes in too and catapult her at HZK with a dropkick, Kyona goes up top and nails the diving body press but Io breaks up the cover. Io drops Kyona with a German suplex, but Mayu comes in and hits a Sling Blade. Momo takes care of Mayu and then hits a missile dropkick on Yoko, as now all six wrestlers are down on the mat. Kyona and HZK slowly get up as they trade elbows until HZK nails Kyona with a jumping boot. HZK gets on the second turnbuckle and hits the diving senton, she then goes all the way up and delivers a second one, but the pin is broken up. Io hits a double swandive dropkick on Yoko and Mayu, she then gets on the top turnbuckle and hits a moonsault down onto both of them. In the ring, Momo hits an avalanche Somato onto Kyona, HZK then goes up top and nails the Atomic Bomb’s Away for the three count cover! Queen’s Quest win!

This was a pretty standard six woman tag match. I mean it was fine but it was by-the-book, the only ‘new’ thing was just seeing different double team spots since both of these sides are pretty recent factions tagging together. HZK looked good, I was concerned she may have more ring rust after taking so much time off when still in the ‘learning’ phase of her career but she doesn’t seem to have missed a beat. Io was Io, loved her landing on her feet on the headscissors attempt as she always does, but there was nothing that really stood out as special. A good match, but a pretty tame main event.  Mildly Recommended